Best Soul Food

Three Friends Restaurant and BBQ

On a recent Sunday afternoon, a squad car belonging to two of Kansas City's finest was parked in the lot outside Three Friends Restaurant and BBQ. Inside, the officers came prepared for a bust -- of their guts, that is. Not powered by doughnuts alone, these officers stacked their plates full of macaroni and cheese, rib tips, fried chicken, and candied yams. Yes, they booked a table close enough to the all-you-can-eat buffet line to save a few steps back and forth.

Who can blame them? Three Friends specializes in Kansas City's most arresting soul food. Open only on weekends, the restaurant puts on its Sunday best with an upstairs buffet from noon until 3:30 p.m. (though some of the notoriously delicious menu items, including the deep-fried catfish, are available only in the main dining room on Sundays -- but the buffet comes topped off with peach cobbler). At 25 years strong and counting, Three Friends has a legion of loyal followers who know traditional goodness when they taste it. "People like the hospitality and the love they put in the food," one customer says. Take it from the cops: Don't stop 'til you're busted.

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